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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

TASTE TEST

Break out the sombreros for a Mexican fiesta. By Stephanie Roy, photography by Badre Mammar and Kosit Pattaranukul

C

inco de Mayo (May 5) is the unofficial holiday that celebrates Mexican culture, heritage and pride. A variety of amazing food, Coronas and margaritas are set to hit Bangkok for the occasion so we’ve decided to search for the Mexican dining experiences that our city has to offer.

THE PLACE

THE SETTING

THE SELECTION

THE VERDICT

Bourbon Street Bar & Restaurant

The French Quarter of New Orleans with the essential Mardi Gras mask and beads, pictures of legendary jazz musicians and classic rock and jazz coming from the speakers. A multicolored restaurant that specializes in Cajun Creole cuisine.

Tuesday is Mexican buffet night. For B270 diners can stuff themselves silly on a fusion of Mexican and Cajun eats like zucchini stuffed quesadillas and refried beans with bacon.

If you’re looking to put on your eating pants and gorge yourself on Mexican food with a spin and a slightly generic appeal then coming here and slapping down almost B300 is an OK way to spend a Tuesday night.

An all-American theme resembling something out of a Clint Eastwood western film. From the hubcaps of classic cars on the ceilings to a collection of license plates lining the wall, all this classic memorabilia can be a bit underwhelming.

The menu offers a variety of non-vegetarian, vegetarian, and low fat selections. Start your meal off with appetizers like the nachos supreme (B180) followed up by an entrée like the enchiladas (B230-285). Sides and extras, such as Spanish rice, are B15-75.

From the chili burrito supreme (B285) to the Mexican beef burger (B300), this is a good meeting place for Tex/Mex aficionados—but be warned of the children’s menu and toys, which account for a very familial atmosphere on weekends.

A high end Mexican/Latin dining experience with live Cuban salsa band, terra cotta clay fixtures, decorations of Aztec and Mayan masks, and vibrantly colored tapestries from floor to ceiling, which all contribute to an atmosphere that is so alive you can’t decide whether to eat or dance.

An extensive drink menu offering four varieties of tequila, margaritas and several “tequila concoctions” at B160-B280. From the grilled beef fajitas (B470) to the marinated chicken skewers (Brazilian style, B290), diners can sample not only traditional Mexican food but other Latin-inspired cuisines as well.

If mouth-watering dishes, an atmosphere with a heartbeat and a pulse, rhythm, spice and a dance floor all appeal to you, this is your first choice. Prices are more expensive than other venues around the city but, hey, who said quality was cheap?

Senorita Patty has it all figured out. Every square inch of this two-story eatery is covered in authentic Mexican memorabilia such as flags, coins, tapestries, and pictures of old Yucatan families. Finishing touches are the lime-green walls and glued mosaic chips on the countertops.

The menu is a bit eccentric. Starting out with one-two-punch cocktails and margaritas at B160-220, phasing into classic entrees like enchiladas (B320) and burritos (B290), but ending with a very Thai/miscellaneous twist with deep fried sea-bass (B500) and grilled pork (B380).

The food takes a detour from authenticity and instead arrives at something more suitable for the Thai palate (the salsa tastes a lot like sweet chili sauce). But what this place lacks in taste, it more than makes up for in cocktails and ambiance.

A very styled and polished margarita bar offering a trendier and more contemporary twist on a classic Mexican decor as sponge-painted orange walls, dark wood ceiling beams, and purposely tarnished light fixtures and masks run from floor to ceiling.

The drink menu is overwhelming with over 75 flavors of margaritas including the Fruit Margaritas (B195/glass) and the head spinning Patron Margaritas (B490-625/glass). Tex-Mex delights like the BBQ Chicken Diablo (B475) only complement the drink selection.

With the average dish over B300 and cocktails over B175, this is not an inexpensive night out. However, margaritas are made with top-notch ingredients and the food is bold and extremely flavorful. Quality doesn’t come cheap.

Two choices, one plaza. No time to dine? Go lunch counter style. Prefer to sit, eat, and sip margaritas? Opt for the dine-in restaurant. Either way, dishes made with fresh ingredients are prepared in front of you, anyway you like it, 24 hours a day.

Over five choices of meat and salsas and an array of toppings to create a personalized burrito (B139), taco (B49), chimichanga (B168) or any other combination in mind. Just be sure to top it off with the best guacamole this side of the Pacific.

Excellent food combined with fair prices, make for the best deal in town. Whether on your lunch break or staggering home after a night of partying, stop in anytime. Besides, what tastes better than a burrito at 3am after an all night club-a-thon?

In a not so aesthetically pleasing food court is this lunch counter that seats about six. Not exactly fine dining but more of a lunch-time spot for those needing to get in and get out as food is prepared fast and in front of you.

The menu has roughly 10 staple Tex-Mex/Mexican quick bites. Choose from four Loco Special Sets, all under B199 and get a combination of items like hard/soft taco (B59), burrito (B89), quesadillas (B89), nachos (B89), chips & salsa, Spanish rice, or refried beans (all B55).

The cheapest spot in town. Ingredients are fresh (salsa and Spanish rice made daily), service is fast, and other than the carrots in the burrito, the taste is pretty believable. It could compete with any other fast food Mexican joint in downtown Los Angeles.

Washington Square, 29/4-6 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-259-0328/9. Open daily 7am-1am.

Charlie Brown’s Mexican 1/23 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-2215. Open Tue-Sun 5:30pmmidnight.

Senor Pico 1/F, Rembrandt Hotel, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, 02-261-7100. Open daily 5pm-1am.

Patty’s Fiesta Mexican Pub & Restaurant 109-111 Silom Soi 1, 02-632-8961. Open daily 11am-1am.

Coyote on Convent Sivadon Bldg., 1/2 Soi Convent, Silom Rd., 02-631-2324. Open daily 11am-1am. Also try Sukhumvit branch (02-662-3838).

Sunrise Tacos 236/3-4 Sukhumvit Rd., between Soi 12 and 14, 02-229-4851. Open daily 24/7 Also try 5/F, Emporium Park Food Hall and G/F, Siam Paragon Gourmet Market.

Taco Loco 1/F, J City Bldg., 64 Silom Rd., 08-6562-8391. Open Mon-Sat 11am10pm.

BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008

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BK Magazine (Food)